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5 February 2009
PRESS STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ON THE EXPERT MEETING ON PREVENTING THE FLOW OF WEAPONS TO GAZA
The Government of Denmark hosted a workshop on February 4-5, 2009 that included representatives of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. A number of observers attended the workshop as well.
Discussions focused on how countries could strengthen international efforts to help prevent the illicit flow of weapons to Gaza. The initiative should be seen in connection with the ongoing international and regional work to support an immediate and durable ceasefire in accordance with UNSCR 1860. This includes unimpeded provision of humanitarian assistance to Gaza as well as the sustained reopening of the crossing points on the basis of the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access.
The participants noted the existing international and regional efforts to prevent illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition into Gaza and similar efforts farther afield. They reaffirmed their intent to further explore and develop effective measures together with regional partners, such as enhancing information sharing, strengthening diplomatic cooperation, as well as reviewing existing international authorities and mechanisms.
The participants expressed their willingness to discuss the issue in relevant fora and agreed to meet again, with possible additional relevant participants, to further discuss and develop supportive measures to prevent illicit arms trafficking into Gaza. The participants emphasised their ongoing commitment to peace and security in the region based on a two state solution. The next workshop will be held in London in March 2009.